In this episode of Pick Yourself, I’m going to show you how to get on Beatport charts, what it takes to enter the top 100 or even the top 10, and why it doesn’t really matter. Yes, you’ve read that correctly: I believe that in the end, this won’t make any difference to your artist career. Don’t believe me? Let’s jump in!
How Beatport, Juno, Traxsource, and other charts work
If you want to get on Beatport charts (or any other), you first need to understand the mechanism behind it. While the exact algorithms might differ from platform to platform, the underlying three-step logic is the same:
- The more units of a product you sell
- in a specific period of time,
- the higher your chart position.
Most platforms are a bit secretive about how their process exactly works because they want to make it harder for people to game the system. In the example of Beatport, it looks like track charts are being updated every 24 hours while album/EP charts follow a weekly rhythm.
So what does that mean for you, if your goal is to enter the top 100?
First of all, you need to have a proper release promotion strategy in place, otherwise there’s no chance to compete with the other releases that come out on the same day. Secondly, you need to involve your true fans to gain enough momentum in a short amount of time.
Lastly, you have convert the awareness for your release (aka people knowing that you’ve put something new out) into actual sales. This is, of course, the hardest part and it will only work if your music is good enough so people actually buy it.
Getting on Beatport charts isn‘t everything
If you think you have to get on Beatport charts to be successful as an artist, let me clarify something: Of all the things you could focus on in your music-career, entering the top 100 is probably the last thing you should put effort into.
Why is that?
Building a meaningful artist career is a marathon, not a sprint. Let’s say you’ve successfully entered the top 100 with your new single. How long do you think it will stay there if the charts for single tracks get updated every 24 hours? Will you sell as many units tomorrow as you did today? And what about the day after tomorrow, when even more fresh tracks enter the charts?
This short burst of attention will soon fade away and all that’s left after the fact is that underlying fear of not being able to enter the charts again with your next release.
That’s not a great place to be in, mentally. Moreover, the actual revenue of a couple of hundreds of units sold (which is all you need to crack the Beatport top 100) isn’t even enough to pay for the electricity bill of your studio. Maybe if you get rid of all your analog gear, but that’s another discussion.
3 things you should focus on instead (which will still help you get on Beatport charts)
So instead of talking about cheap tricks to get on Beatport charts, I’m going to follow the general mission of this podcast and blog which is: helping you build a meaningful electronic music career.
I’m now going to show you three things you should focus on right now that will automatically help you reach higher chart rankings. If entering the Beatport top 100 was one of your goals for this year, replace it with something more meaningful and focus on what’s essential to your growth as an artist.
1. The quality of your product
Your music is, of course, more than a “product” (check out our episode on art vs. capitalism). Still, your chances of entering the Beatport top 100 will definitely grow if you put a lot of effort into creating a high-quality product. So what goes into creating this? Let’s find out!
The first and most important aspect of a high-quality product in the music industry is the artistic output itself. Finding your unique voice as an artist is probably the most challenging aspect of your entire music career. It involves a lot of experimentation and practice on your own but also guidance by other, more experienced producers, mentors and coaches.
Your goal here should be to carve out a tiny little niche within your genre that you get known for. Be a bit more audacious than the rest, try to go beyond the “status quo” of the genre and see how you can push the boundaries. If you’re too vanilla, you’re not recognizable enough to truly “own” a certain sound.
There are endless examples of super popular tracks that sound like crap (which is why I’ve highlighted “artistic output” before). Still, your chances of getting on Beatport charts rises significantly if your songs are well produced, mixed, and mastered.
The simple reason for this is that most people on platforms like Beatport, Juno, and Traxsource are looking for stuff they can play in the club or at festivals. Nobody wants to play songs that wipe off the dancefloor because the bass is missing or the hi-hat is too shrill. And no, you can’t really correct stuff like that on the fly with your standard DJ mixer. So if your song sounds killer, your chances of getting played increase, it’s that simple.
You can, of course, mix and master your own music if you put in enough time and effort to get really good at it (here are some tips on how to level-up your mixing game). If you feel like it’s better to outsource that part, feel free to hit me up, I can definitely help.
While a great packaging can definitely not safe a shitty track, it can boost a great song to new heights. I’m a big fan of artistic concepts and going the extra mile when it comes to artwork, storylines, background info, etc. If you want some inspiration, check out what Kraftwerk have done in the last decades.
In that sense, “packaging” is much more than just the artwork. I’m talking about the whole “look and feel” of your release. From the artwork itself and your new press photos to the way you phrase your social media posts and answer interview questions.
If all of that suggest that you’ve built a consistent, strong artistic identity and image, people are more likely to engage with your music and actually buy your tracks. This might then result in you cracking the Beatport top 100.
2. A close bond with your audience
I can’t stress this enough: Building a small fanbase of true fans will always beat a huge but less engaged social media following. The direct contact with people who love what you do can be super powerful. Usually, a true fan is not only someone who buys all your releases (and maybe even merchandise). That person is most likely willing to become a true ambassador of you as an artist.
But what does “ambassador” mean here?
Your true fans WANT to help you. They are interested in seeing you succeed and they will actively promote your latest release if you give them the tools to do so. If you offer them insider access to unreleased stuff and direct interaction with you from time to time, they can become an important ingredient of your release promotion strategy.
Remember: The more momentum (and consequently sales) you can create inside a short timeframe, the more likely your song are to get charted in the Beatport top 100. So if your existing audience of true fans is not only buying your latest release within that timeframe but also actively promotes your music, your posts, interviews you give, etc., you can create a snowball effect.
3. “Pull”- instead of “Push”-Marketing
This point is a bit more philosophical. I believe the old marketing paradigm of pushing more and more banners, ads, and messages in front of people’s faces is about to fade. We’re getting banner-blind in the internet as well as in the real world.
In my opinion, great marketing works differently. It’s pulling you in instead of pushing stuff into your face. It makes you curious instead of annoyed. It makes you want to come back for more instead of run away.
That means you have to create outstanding music but also be an interesting character who shares thoughts and concepts worth consuming. People are craving for voices that provide meaning in a sea of noise and distraction. It’s easier than ever to stand out while everybody else is posting dog-faces and food-porn.
So I leave you with that: What can you do to pull people in, to make them come back for more DELIBERATELY instead of spamming their newsfeed?
And yes, in the end this also helps you enter the Beatport top 100 because people don’t feel like you want them to buy your stuff, instead they feel that they need to get your latest release because you’ve created something worthwhile.
Conclusion: Why getting on Beatport charts isn’t as important as you think
I’ve now given you all you need to crack the Beatport top 100. Still, I hope you understand why it’s completely pointless to run after chart positions. In the end, you have to define what success means to you and I’m sure that there are better things to shoot for.
If your goal is to build and grow a meaningful, long lasting music career, patience will be your best friend. A chart position might feel like a pad on the shoulder (“good job, you’ve finally made it”), but it won’t move the needle in the grand scheme of things.
Let’s say you look back at all your achievements at the end of your music career, what would really count? That one time you went on number 6 on the Beatport Techno chart? Not really. Here’s what I believe you would look back at:
- Having changed people’s lives with your music (believe me, your true fans will tell you).
- Leaving a legacy of songs that inspire the next generation of electronic music producers.
- Having pushed the boundaries of your genre and shaped the scene in a positive way.
That’s what I consider worth looking back at. Screw the Beatport charts.
Putting it into action: The right way to get on Beatport charts
Now that you know what it needs to get on Beatport charts (and why it doesn’t matter), I’ll leave you with some action steps that you can implement right away.
1. Don’t blindly run after chart positions
- Remember that if you follow my advice above (high quality product, close bond with your audience, and “pull”-marketing), you will automatically increase your chances of getting on Beatport charts.
- Still, this approach focuses on the right actions that will help you build a meaningful music-career in the long run.
2. Focus on serving your true fans instead of how many tracks you sell
- Track sales on Beatport, Traxsource, Juno, and other platforms look like a good metric of success. But in the end, they aren’t reflecting how close your relationship with your true fans is.
- For example: Selling one high-quality, limited edition physical product to one true fan is worth more than selling 100 digital copies to random DJs on Beatport.
3. Make sure you follow your release promotion strategy, no matter what chart position it results in
- Remember the S.M.O.-Strategy that I’ve outlined in a past episode. Stick to that strategy no matter what. Chart positions are simply the wrong metric for measuring success.
- The only thing that counts is deep interaction with your core audience. They are the ones that will enable you to build a sustainable artist-career.
Alright folks, that’s it for this week’s episode. I’d love to hear your honest opinion: Do you think Beatport (or other) charts play an important role for your success?
Let me know in the comments, I read everything.